For the first time since 2010, the Kansas University football team is sending multiple players to the NFL combine.
Senior safety Bradley McDougald and senior offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson both received invitations to the annual skills showcase, which will take place Feb. 23-26 in Indianapolis.
McDougald, whom KU coach Charlie Weis at one point called the best player on the team, announced the news via Twitter on Tuesday.
Hawkinson, a four-year starter and KU’s record holder for consecutive starts, confirmed his invitation to the Journal-World via text message.
Hawkinson, 6-foot-5, 300 pounds, and McDougald, 6-1, 209, will become just the fifth and sixth Jayhawks in the past four years to participate in the combine, joining 2010 participants Dezmon Briscoe, Kerry Meier and Darrell Stuckey and 2012 participant Steven Johnson.
Although Johnson wound up undrafted, all four recent combine competitors wound up making NFL teams a few months after their trips to Indianapolis.
That is certainly the goal for McDougald and Hawkinson, two of the most productive Kansas players during the past four seasons.
Hawkinson, because of his size, good feet and versatility projects as a mid- to late-round selection and is ranked, by multiple draft scout web sites, as one of the top 20 offensive tackles available in this year’s draft.
McDougald, a natural athlete who still is getting used to playing safety after spending his first two seasons in Lawrence at wide receiver, ranked second on the team with 92 tackles and also tied for the team lead in interceptions (3) and forced fumbles (2).
Hawkinson, a McPherson native who graduated in December, is headed to San Diego to train for the combine. McDougald, a native of Columbus, Ohio, elected to stay close to Lawrence so he could complete his degree and will spend the next several weeks training in Kansas City.
This year’s NFL Draft will take place April 25-27.